Friday, January 12, 2007

Album Review on Ultimate Guitar USA

Musically, the history of Dundee, Scotland isn't exactly littered with success stories. Indeed, the city has only two notable additions to the pop canon: The Associates and The Average White Band. But all that is about to change with the advent of The View, the city's newest and greatest white hopes. Four alarmingly young (average age: 18) friends from the same housing estate, The View are comprised of Kyle, Keiren, Peter and Steve and formed from the ashes of an old covers band they formed at school, playing everything from Squeeze to The Sex Pistols. After deciding just over a year ago that their ambitions stretched considerably further than hawking "Up The Junction" around the pubs and clubs of Dundee, they began writing and rehearsing their own songs in the backroom of their local, The Bayview Bar (hence the band's name). They soon settled into a "Monkees-like existence" of playing and writing together to the exclusion of much else.

The last gang in town spirit comes across in their brilliantly bombastic debut album Hats Off To The Buskers - 14 songs bursting with scrappy, swaggering teen spirit - to be released on 1965/Columbia Records on March 13th. Produced by Owen Morris (producer of the Verve's Northern Soul and Oasis' Definitely Maybe) it was recorded in rural Yorkshire in two weeks in May of 2006.

Signed by fledgling UK label 1965 Records by its founder James Endeacott (renowned in Britain for discovering The Libertines for Rough Trade) they hit the ground running when music lovers around the country fell for the charms of debut single "Wasted Little DJs". Described as "a joyous slice of pop punk" by the Times of London it found a welcome home on British radio despite the fact that the band had barely played outside of their hometown. Upon release it entered the UK pop singles charts at #15, taking everyone - band and label included - by complete surprise. Part of its curious genius is perhaps the unintelligible chorus which is sung in the coded vernacular of the band's friends. The follow-up single "Superstar Tradesman" did equally well, hitting the #15 spot immediately upon release, providing a further breath of fresh air to mainstream pop radio. America can see what all the fuss is about January when "Wasted Little DJs" goes to radio here.

Like many punk rock classics "Same Jeans" and "Grans For Tea" document the banality of adolescent life in a small city; but The View add a frothy sense of fun and tongue-in-cheek humor. Stand out tracks like "Claudia" and "Face For The Radio" showcase their gentler side. With an impressive knack for writing perfect pop songs, The View take the classic teen punk sensibilities of bands like The Undertones and The Jam and apply their own unique energy, wit and, of course, thick Scottish brogue.

This quartet from Dryburgh (just outside of Glasgow) has become a UK favorite, and is now coming stateside.

by 12/1/07


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